November 2019 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

Officials at a Kentucky public school agreed to stop sponsoring a “prayer locker” where students can leave requests for prayers, after receiving a letter from Americans United.

Reed Adkins, superintendent of the Pike County Public Schools, told local media that the locker had been removed. Americans United has called the locker “a clear violation of the separation of church and state.”

AU intervened in the matter after receiving a complaint from a member of the community. AU Staff Attorney Ian Smith noted that school officials appeared to be sponsoring the locker, where could students could distribute requests for prayers.

“There was evidence that this was thought up by teachers in the school,” Smith told WYMT-TV in Hazard, Ky. “The fact that it looks like teachers masterminded this and made it happen is a problem.”

Emily Chaney, a sophomore at East Ridge High School, said she would continue to take prayer requests verbally.

Smith noted that public school students can still engage in voluntary religious activities.

“Students in student clubs have the right to meet and engage in religious activities in their own time,” Smith said. “What they don't have the right to do is sort of use the school to push that on other students.”